Do We Want to Believe Jesus was God?

A PERSONAL POINT OF VIEW

An essential underlying question about Jesus that isn’t commonly propounded to the inquisitive, erudite atheist, or the open-minded agnostic, is—-is there any part of us that wants to believe Jesus was God?

Would it be off-putting to believe such a thing? Is it the science behind God in human form that throws us off, or is it the seeming incredulity of what the Bible says took place? What is the importance of wanting to believe Jesus was God, versus actually believing it? We’ll return to that in a moment.

When He was crucified after humbling Himself in the interrogation with Pontius Pilate, an unbeliever would label His death as martyrdom, and a believer would view the same act as paving the way for salvation. The commonality is this: they both see Jesus die after admitting to be God. Putting aside absolutes (I.e. “The Bible says so”, etc), would we prefer that Jesus was God based on His character?

MARTYRDOM OR SALVATION?

Christ-followers believe Jesus came to free sinners from eternal separation from God, also known as the second death (Revelations 21:8). Many unbelievers have a problem with the concept of God sending His Son to die, and when worded like that, God does sound barbaric. But what we should understand is that Christ had the power and the capacity to have chosen a different path. He wasn’t being forcefully thrown into the lion’s den by a sadistic God: He was choosing and displaying absolute obedience.

The difference between the two is that Jesus, the man, had the power of free will just like any of us as the result of being fully human, and fully God—but He used free will to be crucified in order to make possible the path to salvation. In other words, it was a purpose-driven decision made out of devotion to faith in God’s work.

Jesus choosing to lay His life down for us is why God loved Him (John 10: 17-18). While in partiality His death could be viewed as an initial act of martyrdom, salvation was the prominent motivation. Rising from the dead would break the punishment of death from ensnaring humanity, and the power in His rising would lead to the birth of salvation. Jesus’ choice wasn’t mere martyrdom, but the seed to becoming the very cornerstone for Christianity (Ephesians 2: 19-22).

COMMITTED TO THE PURPOSES OF GOD

Objectively, after denuding theological aspects, how does Jesus read off as a person? We don’t even have to think about the church or the rest of history after Jesus’ ascension. The character of Jesus delineated in the Bible portrays a man completely dedicated to God. The tidal wave of His actions would ripple throughout the rest of time as we know it. If we deduce He was crazy for His devotional spiritual posture, we can glean useful counter-feedback from the effects of Him teaching crowds, and interacting with those in His time.

Christ persuaded men from different backgrounds and crafts to follow Him as disciples, teaching them principles that challenged their religious beliefs. He also proselytized in truth to great multitudes, which found Him authentically divine. Lastly, He fearlessly rebuked the hypocritical Pharisees to the point of speechlessness, when they had all the political power they needed to put Him to death.

MORE THAN A MAN

Could Jesus really pass for crazy? He was described in numerous moments in scripture as loving (John 15: 9-17), forgiving (John 8:10-11), wise (Matthew 13:1-9), bold (Matthew 21:12-13), and human (John 11:1-43). The characteristics of Jesus described in the Bible do not draw the type of personality we’d associate with someone in a mental institution. He healed people. He told a parable differentiating between faith permanently transforming a person from the inside, and a life where faith is caught, but then lost. The depth, intricacy, and wisdom of Jesus’ stories were so perplexingly inspiring that they motivated the revelation for those who listened that He was more than a man. Truth would say He was more ahead of His time than the rest of His surrounding religious community.

This same loving, profound man believed God sent Him to die for sinners—while still in their sin—for the purpose of salvation. Could that render Him crazy against the backdrop of the rest of His character?

Could we call Him a liar? Only one who has truth can teach truth. He took Pharisees off guard whenever questioned and was never fooled by attempts to reveal Him as a hypocrite of His own teachings (Matthew 12:24-28). If anything, He came across as the author of truth—-far from the perimeters of a liar.

FILLING IN THE BLANKS

As a man alone, He wasn’t crazy, and He wasn’t lying—but, He believed He was God, and that He was sent for an eternal purpose. This is just the man we’re talking about.

Knowing this, would we want Him to be God? Does He say or do anything that makes us question His deity? What role does wanting Jesus to be God play in theorizing this notion?

A MORE INTACT GOD

The importance behind wanting to believe Jesus was God, versus actually believing it, is that the desire is an indication of how we view the connection between the implications of the man Jesus, and the Biblical claims of His deity. Believers know the relationship between humans and Jesus is different than the one between us and God, because Jesus is our mediator; He is relatable because He was God incarnate. In believing in Jesus as God, we put a face to God’s essence, which not only makes more sense of Jesus, but makes God more reachable—more intact.

LIMITLESS VALUE OF JESUS AS GOD

It’s befuddling to explain the stories of Jesus without scratching our heads, trying to figure out what category to place Him in. Which makes for an interesting side note—-we hear these stories about Christ, and our first instinct is sometimes to try to place Him in a box, compartmentalize Him—-assign Him a label to limit His true value as one to place our faith in. Why is that? Is there fear of what it could mean if it were true?

All put aside, what would we rather Him be if our choice could change the story? Could Jesus pass as only a man? Does deifying Him as Lord and Savior sound strange when we look at His characteristics as a man?

Let me know your thoughts by commenting down below! Be blessed today as you give some time to this important issue for both believers and unbelievers alike.

6 thoughts on “Do We Want to Believe Jesus was God?

  1. I grew up ina church listening to a preacher talk about how Jesus is not God and condemning those who believe He is. I now believe that Jesus is God and have given my life to Him. It takes revelation to have faith in Christ for salvation.

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    1. Thanks for sharing this comment Amy! What a blessing to read. I know there are so many people who can relate to your experience in the church, and it’s truly tragic how many churches have caused people like you to walk away with lies like that. I agree that it takes revelation to have faith in Christ. God bless you Amy!

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  2. I can’t not believe in Christ. As a new believer at 45, desparate and broken, He told me. Now, over 35 years later, I haven’t wavered in that. None of the arguments of the gentleman above will sway me. Or any follower of Christ. Did I want Him to be God? I don’t remember.

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  3. Jeremiah 29:12-13 “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

    In the above verse, can we honestly say each of us who prays seeks God with all our hearts? Do some of us pray, treating God like a genie in a lamp, expecting him to answer our prayers but not be our Lord? Sounds like someone who just wants what they can get from God, but not someone who “seeks Him with all our heart.”

    Psalm 66:17-20 – “I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!”

    Could we deduce that those of us who pray without seeking God in our lives first are cherishing sin? This verse says God does not listen to those who cherish sin. This is a clear example of a time when God would not be answering prayer. This does not point to God not existing, nor does it point to God being careless; it’s a description of the righteous nature of God not listening to people putting Him second to their will in life.

    Have you ever fed a homeless person? If you have, then you are a part of many who want others’ needs to be met. I have fed homeless people, and I believe God gave me what I needed to be able to provide for them. I know others who have provided for those in need also, and they believe God provided for them as well. You ask why God doesn’t feed the starving; the truth is, He does. Why are there still so many who are starving? I’m sure you’ve given thought to the many people who don’t listen to God with their hearts. Many times, we each have been that person. The question that follows: who are we to judge others when we do the same thing? And guess what, God sees all of that, and He is still providing through those who listen.

    I feel confident you would still find a way to downplay the verses above as contradictions, but I could now see you downplaying anything I say regardless. The only reason I’m providing the above is to show you the Bible does not say God will answer any prayer, no matter what. Jesus’ words were for those who pray according to His will, purposes, and in the Spirit. How do you think it would speak of Jesus’ character, as God incarnate, if He said: “Everyone, whatever you want, it’s on me!” Sounds like a genie to me.

    It’s clear God knows how we think, how we live our lives, and who or what we prioritize/idolize. If we’re not trusting Him and putting Him first, it shouldn’t surprise us that prayers do not appear to be answered. For one, we may not even be looking for His answers in the first place. Secondly, why should we expect an answered prayer from someone we have no real relationship with?

    What I try to focus on when I pray is not that I get what I want, but that what I want is based on what God would want for me, and others. Since I believe His will is better, I rationalize that the more I pray according to the Spirit, the more what I pray for will be relevant, effective, and more in alignment with what God is already prepared to do. God is not prepared to answer the prayers of those who are disobeying His commands to be reflective of Jesus. And for those who aren’t praying, and/or who aren’t doing His will or seeking Him—that would explain why there is so much suffering in the world. No, not God’s ignorance, evil, or limitation, but people’s choice to serve themselves first.

    What the world needs is Jesus, and many of us confuse Jesus with praying for whatever we want and thinking ourselves as “Christians.” That isn’t Christianity. That is religion.

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    1. VC,

      Nice bible verse, a pity it doesn’t come true. I’ve done this and this god is nowhere to be found. Like a magic spell, prayer fails, and the only thing the believe has is blaming the victim. Yep, we can certainly say people are honestly seeking this god. You have to lie and claim they aren’t to excuse your god and your failure.

      Christians love to pull out that lie about treating their god like a genie. I don’t. I expect the bible to be true if someone claims it is true and hold it and them responsible. I don’t need to make up excuses for its failure.
      I have indeed helped feed the homeless. I auctioned off a couple of paintings and gave the money to a soup kitchen run by a Presbyterian church that a friend attends. I did it without pretending I have to in order to avoid hell.

      Your god does nothing at all. Humans do it. This god could make manna fall and quails flock and make fish and bread into enough to feed billions, but it doesn’t. You again blame the victims to excuse your god for doing nothing. It doesn’t need humans to do anything if the stories are true. Alas, the stories are just that, stories. God suddenly needs people when in the stories it never did.

      All you have done, and I thank you for it, is show that your bible is full of contradictions that Christians try to excuse away. Unfortunately for you, JC himself supposedly says otherwise and that all prayers will be answered with what is asked for, quickly and without excuse. JC, again, says nowhere that there are exceptions. Yep, it can sound like “everyone whatever you want is on me”, but that’s not a genie, that’s a god that says that his believers will have to want for nothing (see the bit about the lilies of the field). That’s something you hate since it shows that your god fails constantly. You are desperate for anything that shows otherwise. But alas, you find yourself in the OT that so many Christians want to pretend doesn’t apply anymore. You guys can’t agree on that either, which parts still apply and which parts don’t.

      No, it is not “clear” that this god knows how we think or that if this god even exists, your version or any other. I do love how you’ve made your god so petty that if it isn’t the most important thing to everyone, it throws a tantrum and hurts people. “It’s clear God knows how we think, how we live our lives, and who or what we prioritize/idolize. If we’re not trusting Him and putting Him first, it shouldn’t surprise us that prayers do not appear to be answered.” Do tell exactly how it is our faults to not see this god’s answers? It can’t make them known to humans? Such a impotent god.

      Yep, when you pray you self-edit e.g. say you want what god would do anyway, since you know your god will not do anything, VC. Many theists do this when it comes to prayer. The ones who do actually believe what the bible literally says then create excuses why this god didn’t answer their prayer. It’s awfully convenient to say useless prayers and then convince yourself you, and thus your god, do influence the universe.

      Your poor lil’ god harms people for daring not to worship it 24/7. How needy. “And for those who aren’t praying, and/or who aren’t doing His will or seeking Him—that would explain why there is so much suffering in the world. No, not God’s ignorance, evil, or limitation, but people’s choice to serve themselves first.” Happily, I am so much better than this god that I don’t need to hurt people for not gratifying me constantly.

      Christianity is Jesus (though there are many many different versions of him) and is religion. You, like so many Christians, want to insist that anyone who doesn’t agree with you really aren’t Christians. Alas, all of you fail the same. I also like when Christians try to claim they don’t have a religion. You do: religion: “a personal set or institutionalized system of religious(relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity) attitudes, beliefs, and practices” – merriam webster

      You try to get away from that term since you know that your religion has failed in its thousand splits. You try to pretend it is something else to again avoid responsibility for Christian actions.

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